South eastern Sicily has a rough, dramatic landscape - mountain then ravine - but it's the eight gorgeous Baroque towns of the Val di Noto, sitting graceful and placid amongst the drama, which call out to travellers. All of them are eye-catching - they sprang up together after a devastating earthquake in 1693 - but Noto is probably the finest of them all. A Baroque fantasy in honey-coloured stone, some of the best places to stay in Noto can be found in this centre.
Noto is easily explored, most of its main sights are situated on its grand Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, along with two of its best gelato cafes.
This green and elegant promenade has beautiful Baroque palaces and churches all along its length. So if you stroll beneath its palms you've no chance of missing the freshly restored cathedral, the pantomime of iron work figures on the balcony of the Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, or the views from the top of the bell-tower of the church of San Carlo al Corso - among just a few of the Corso's charms.
Many of these Baroque beauties are just as lovely inside as out. Noto also boasts beautiful gardens, some of which have a very North African flavour - Noto is a bit Sicily-meets-Granada - so there are plenty of places to enjoy your gelato alfresco. Between churches and palazzos of course!
A serene hillside hotel surrounded by olive groves in a remote setting above Noto. Bedrooms (plus some triples and quadruples) are perfect for families and groups, all decorated with contemporary elegance. Fabulous infinity pool and excellent restaurant. Close to beaches and sights nearby.
A historic building in Noto's medieval centre. Grand, beautiful architecture, frescoes on the ceilings, Baroque balconies, and ornate decoration. An elegant B&B with wonderful views. very romantic, also family friendly.